Curled under the covers, you might not realize you’re sharing your cozy haven with unwelcome guests: bed bugs. 

These tiny intruders have a knack for making their presence felt, leaving behind itchy bites and unsettling marks. 

But what do bed bugs look like up close?

Being able to spot these creatures is a critical first step in eliminating them forever. Unfortunately— that’s the hard part. Bed bugs are elusive pests that can be hard to get rid of. 

Let’s go over a few practical ways to protect your sanctuary from their grasp.

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What Do Bed Bugs Look Like? picture of what a bed bug looks like up close

You’ve recently seen some small insects on your bed.  

But is it an ant, a flea, or a bed bug? 

You can’t really know until you can see it up close. Which means you probably need to catch one. Here’s how: 

  1. Grab a flashlight;
  2. Check the seams, nooks, and crannies of your mattresses, bedding, and furniture.
  3. Press a piece of tape onto a suspected area
  4. Gently lift it, then stick it onto a white sheet of paper.
  5. With a magnifying glass, you can examine the tape for any tiny insects or other evidence of bed bugs.

Here’s what bed bugs look like to the human eye:

  1. Small, reddish-brown insects
  2. Oval-shaped bodies
  3. Size of an apple seed
  4. Six legs and two antennae
  5. Flat bodies (but they swell after feeding)
  6. Adults are about 1/4 inch
  7. Young nymphs are lighter in color and smaller

They also tend to leave behind tiny eggs or dark spots.

What do eggs of bed bugs look like?

bed bite eggs look like tiny grains of rice

Bed bug eggs are quite small and oval-shaped, resembling tiny grains of rice. They’re about 1 mm in length and have a pearly white color. These eggs are usually laid in cracks, crevices, and other hidden spots, making them challenging to detect with the naked eye. They are often glued to surfaces using a sticky substance secreted by the female bed bug. The eggs hatch in about 6 to 10 days, depending on temperature and other environmental factors.

signs of bed bugs

Dark spots on your bed posts is a sign of bed bugs

Where To Look for Them:

  1. In or behind your bed
  2. Cracks in your wall or trim
  3. Window or door sills
  4. Electrical system
  5. Home decoration

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How To Identify a Bed Bug Bite

image of what a bed bug looks like

Sometimes you don’t need to do all that to know you have bed bugs. Their bites are pretty distinctive. 

Here’s a rundown of how to identify a bed bug bite:

  • Raised, red welts on the skin
  • Itchy, sometimes intense irritation
  • Bites can appear in clusters or rows
  • Often in areas exposed while sleeping
  • Sometimes accompanied by a small blister

The CDC warns that you may also experience insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.

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How Do Bed Bugs Bite?

picture of where to find bed bugs

These sneaky little creatures poke your skin using numbing juice so you won’t feel a thing. 

The numbing juice bed bugs use is basically their secret weapon. It’s an anesthetic saliva that they inject into your skin before they start feasting on your blood. This clever move helps them stay undetected while enjoying their meal.

Then, they dig into your blood like they’re at an all-you-can-eat buffet. 

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How Do You Get Bed Bugs?

how do you get bed bugs - image of magnifying glass held up to a bed to show a bed bug

A common myth is that bed bugs are attracted to dirty spaces. 

The fact is they like it dark. As nocturnal insects, they’re experts at stowing away in small nooks and crannies. 

They’ll hide away during that day and come out looking for something to eat (aka your blood). 

The EPA says bed bugs are “attracted to warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide. However, clutter offers more hiding spots.”

Some reasons you might have bed bugs are:

  1. Travel History: Bringing bed bugs home after staying in an infested hotel room or using public transportation can lead to an unwanted infestation.
  2. Secondhand Furniture: Purchasing used furniture, especially mattresses and upholstered items, can introduce bed bugs into your home if the items are already infested.
  3. High Human Traffic Areas: Living in densely populated areas or apartment buildings increases the risk of bed bugs spreading from one unit to another.
  4. Shared Spaces: Frequenting shared spaces like dormitories, laundromats, or even workplaces can attract more of these pests. 
  5. Visitors and Guests: Having guests over, whether for a short visit or an extended stay, can inadvertently introduce bed bugs if their luggage or belongings carry these pests.

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How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs Organically

how do you get bed bugs - image of magnifying glass held up to a bed to show a bed bug

Now, if you’re determined to give these intruders the boot, organic methods are your safest option. 

You can try: 

  • Washing your bedding and clothes in hot water
  • Vacuuming up bugs and eggs
  • Using diatomaceous earth 

But like we said, DIY-ing it can lead to further infestation since these buggers don’t stay away for long. An organic pest control company is going to be your best (and safest) bet.

Bed Bug FAQS

How serious are bed bugs? 

Bed bug infestations are notoriously difficult to get rid of — even for trained professionals.  

If you think essential oils and quick DIY hacks will eliminate these pests, you’re only wasting time. Time that could lead to a bed bug infestation. 

Bug bombs are also ineffective, according to the National Center for Healthy Housing.

Besides the fact that these suckers are hard to eradicate, they can also cause:

  1. Property Damage: Bed bugs can infest furniture, bedding, and clothing. Because bed bugs are hard to get rid of, you’ll likely need to replace these items, leading to potential financial losses as these items may need to be replaced.
  2. Social Stigma: The presence of bed bugs can lead to social isolation, embarrassment, and stigma, as others might associate them with unclean living conditions.

Are bed bugs dangerous?

Bed bugs might be small, but their impact can be significant. 

They can cause a range of problems and health concerns, such as:

  1. Physical Discomfort: Bed bug bites can lead to itching, redness, and swelling, causing discomfort and potential skin infections from excessive scratching.
  2. Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may develop allergic reactions to bed bug bites, ranging from mild to severe symptoms.
  3. Mental Health Impact: Dealing with a bed bug infestation can cause anxiety, stress, and insomnia, according to this joint statement by the United States CDC and EPA. 
  4. Spread of Pathogens: Although bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases directly, their bites can cause secondary infections if scratched excessively.

Do bed bugs bite dogs or cats?

While they prefer human blood, yes, they will also bite pets, rodents, and even birds. These aren’t exactly selective diners. 

Bed bugs are attracted to blood as their primary source of nutrition because it provides essential nutrients, particularly protein, necessary for their reproduction and development. 

They’ll pierce the skin and access the blood vessels beneath, enabling them to feed on their preferred hosts, including pets.

Bed Bugs in Florida

In Florida, bed bugs are a year-round concern due to the warm climate that facilitates their breeding and survival.

While infestations can occur at any time, there tends to be a higher occurrence during the warmer months when these pests are more active

Flea Bites vs. Bed Bug Bites

flea bites vs bed bug bites

Think of flea bites as a distant cousin to bed bug bites. While similar, they have their differences. 

Flea Bites:

  • Smaller in size compared to bed bug bites.
  • Often found around lower legs and ankles.
  • Appear as small, raised red bumps.
  • Can be intensely itchy.
  • May have a single puncture mark at the center.

Bed Bug Bites:

  • Larger and more noticeable than flea bites.
  • Tend to appear in clusters or a linear pattern on exposed skin.
  • Often found on the upper body, arms, neck, and face.
  • Bites can be red and swollen, with a darker center.
  • May cause itching, discomfort, and even mild allergic reactions.

Mosquito Bites vs. Bed Bug Bites

mosquito bites vs bed bug bites

Unlike mosquitoes, bed bugs don’t leave a visible puncture point. Bites can also take a few days to show up. Here’s how to spot mosquitos. 

Mosquito Bites:

  • White
  • Raised
  • Various sizes

Bed Bug Bites:

  • Red and swollen
  • Clustered or in a line

Are you tired of these unwanted guests crashing your home? Talk to Nick and Eric from My Organic Turf! Our science-based approach keeps kids and pets safe while effectively dealing with bed bugs.